The prospect of an unhinged and hypersensitive narcissist like Donald Trump having the power to launch a nuclear war on a whim is absolutely terrifying. He has already mentioned his willingness to use nuclear missiles several times, and has been a vocal proponent of nuclear proliferation across the world. He has also proposed expanding our nuclear arsenal in response to the Russian declaration that they would expand and modernize their nuclear arsenal, and casually threw out that he didn’t mind if it was a “nuclear arms race.” Trump also seems to think it’s acceptable to announce nuclear policy on Twitter:
The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
Nuclear weapons are one of the greatest threats to human civilization that exist today. Donald Trump’s volatile personality and insecure need to appear strong drastically increase the likelihood that nuclear war might occur; North Korea is accelerating its missile testing as the People’s Republic of China reveals its Dongfeng-41 long-range ICBMs for the first time, according to state-run media.
In response to this, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) has introduced the Restricting First Use Of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, which would require a declaration of war from Congress before the President could use nuclear weapons preemptively. He would still be able to use them to retaliate if the United States was struck first.
“Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival. Yet, President Trump has suggested that he would consider launching nuclear attacks against terrorists. Unfortunately, by maintaining the option of using nuclear weapons first in a conflict, U.S. policy provides him with that power. In a crisis with another nuclear-armed country, this policy drastically increases the risk of unintended nuclear escalation.” said Sen. Markey in a statement.
Rep. Lieu followed up with a strong condemnation: “It is a frightening reality that the U.S. now has a Commander-in-Chief who has demonstrated ignorance of the nuclear triad, stated his desire to be ‘unpredictable’ with nuclear weapons, and as President-elect was making sweeping statements about U.S. nuclear policy over Twitter. Congress must act to preserve global stability by restricting the circumstances under which the U.S. would be the first nation to use a nuclear weapon.”
While it is unlikely that the bill will make it through our Republican-strangled Houses of Congress, it is a sharp reminder of how real the danger of nuclear war truly is – and how emotionally unqualified Donald Trump is to hold the Oval Office. We cannot trust a man who lashes out against television actors for mocking him and spends the first three days of his presidency complaining about the tiny size of his inaugural crowds with the power to level a city and kill millions with the push of a button.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.